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    Tesoro Maintenance Scheduled

    Independent refiner plans work at four refineries in 2003.

    SAN ANTONIO -- Tesoro Petroleum Corp. has planned maintenance work on four of its six western U.S. oil refineries in 2003, according to Chief Executive Bruce Smith.

    The company is planning to shut its 55,000 barrel-per-day (bpd) Salt Lake City, Utah, refinery in the first quarter for roughly 38 days, and its 60,000 bpd Mandan, North Dakota, plant in the fourth quarter for the same duration, Smith said.

    Two other refineries -- the company's 108,000 bpd Anacortes, Washington, plant and 95,000 bpd Kapolei, Hawaii, plant -- also need some work, but details were not immediately available, Smith said. Tesoro has budgeted $45 million for the maintenance work, which does not include equipment upgrades required to bring plants up to low sulphur fuel production specifications that will take hold in 2006.

    San Antonio-based Tesoro is an independent refiner operating six refineries in the United States with a combined capacity of nearly 560,000 barrels per day (bpd) and a network of 750 branded convenience stores, of which more than 290 are company owned under the Tesoro and Mirastar brands.

    The company announced last week it has reduced refinery production by 15 percent to roughly 480,000 bpd until the end of September due to weak profit margins, mirroring a similar cut by leading independent Valero Energy Corp.

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